[singlepic id=384 w=180 h=240 float=left]Director Martin Campbell
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Angela Basset
You’ve seen the reviews by now: Green Lantern is atrocious, they all say. It’s got a freshness rating of 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, as of this writing, and has been called the worst comic book movie of the summer, with what is being dubbed an underwhelming $52 million opening weekend.
Sorry, guys. I enjoyed the hell out of it.
It’s not perfect, don’t think I’m saying that. The movie has a lot of shortcomings. The last act feels like a good 30 minutes or so were cut out of it. And, much like Thor, it feels like the story had to be rushed to fit within time and budget constraints. The CG looks a little wonky from time to time, but nothing that took me out of the movie and led me to disenjoy it. If anything, my only complaint was that Green Lantern has fallen prey to the 3D bug, forcing me to wear glasses which made the picture far too dark and muddy for no 3D effects that really wowed me; the times I would take off the glasses wowed me, because the picture really was bright, crisp and…well, “comic book-y”.
And that’s where Green Lantern scores in aces: this is, by far, the most “comic book-y” comic book movie to date. While characters and costumes are updated, the film manages to successfully capture what makes Green Lantern great. The story has it’s bumps, but when it hits it’s stride and starts running, it’s really good. It could have used a few more epic set-pieces, definitely: the sequence of GL and the film’s big bad in front of the sun is really impressive to see, but the only one of it’s kind in the movie. Hal’s constructs, only used in one or two sequences, are naturally goofy and only make sense in the heat of the moment, something that translated really well to the screen.
It is, in fact, “missed opportunity” that best describes the film. There were so many things that the film could have pulled off, but instead it does seem to struggle with figuring out exactly what a Green Lantern is. It has difficulty finding it’s own identity at times, as well. Is it a summer action flick? A romantic comedy? An action drama? It tries to be a little bit of all three, and while it is passable as all three, it never seems to really adapt a niche and stick with it.
The film turns in some great performances. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are great in their roles, but Peter Sarsgaard’s Hector Hammond steals the show easily. He’s got a sick charm to him that makes watching his every scene exciting. Mark Strong’s Sinestro also has a few layers, though his ultimate fate does seem to be a bit rushed. Meanwhile, Michael Clark Duncan turns in a good Kilowog run, while Geoffery Rush ties the unique worlds of Earth and Oa together as narrator Tomar-Re.
However, I maintain that I did enjoy Green Lantern. It has it’s flaws, but it does capture the essence of the character, and create a great movie for a more-or-less unestablished character. It’s not The Dark Knight; it really shouldn’t be. It is, however, a fun romp that both comic fans and their kids, something that can’t necessarily be said about the darker franchises like Dark Knight or even X-Men: First Class. In an era where comic book movies aspire to be overwrought, dramatic romps, Green Lantern instead tries to be fun, and it succeeds at that. This is a franchise that will definitely improve as it goes, and one that I’m personally looking forward to seeing more of.